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Animal deaths spark probe at Anhui zoo

By ZHU LIXIN | | Updated: 2024-05-14 20:33
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Authorities in Anhui province launched an investigation Monday into the deaths of many animals, including 20 Siberian tigers, at a private zoo in Fuyang city.

The China Philanthropist magazine reported that the animals died over several years at the Fuyang Wild Zoo. The city government confirmed the investigation and pledged to punish any wrongdoing.

Public records show the zoo was a joint venture established in 2018. However, disputes arose among the partners, with construction delays and disagreements over animal care. The National Forestry and Grassland Administration also denied the zoo's request to breed endangered species like Siberian tigers in 2019.

One company involved, Fuyang Ziqing Agricultural Science and Technology, claims the deaths resulted from inbreeding due to the zoo's incomplete construction hindering animal transfers. Li Lianghua, representing another company, Shanghai Zhirun Tourism Investment which provided animals to the zoo, blames the deaths on poor living conditions caused by business disputes.

Li previously operated a circus and provided animals for performances at the Shanghai Wild Zoo. He expressed concerns in 2010 after regulations banned animal circus acts in state-owned zoos. His company, Fuyang Tengfei Domestication and Performance, was fined twice for illegal Siberian tiger performances at the Shanghai zoo.

The Fuyang zoo finally opened in 2021, but many animals, including 16 remaining Siberian tigers, reportedly live in concerning conditions.

The investigation aims to determine the cause of the animal deaths and hold those responsible accountable.

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